02/21/2013 05:13 EST | Updated 04/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Kevin Page: International Community Watching Canada's PBO Battle


OTTAWA - Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page says some international observers have expressed shock at the difficulties he's had in prying information from the government.

Officials from 22 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development are holding their two-day annual meeting for the first time in Canada, sharing best practices and experiences in a fast-growing field.

Page, who is about to end his five-year term as Canada's first parliamentary budget officer, is taking the Conservative government to court over its refusal to release information on billions of dollars in department spending cuts.

Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States all gave presentations on accessing information at today's closed-door session and Page emerged to say his office has had the roughest ride.

The Congressional Budget Office in Washington has a relationship developed over decades with mid-level government officials that freely share government data, while the U.K.'s Office for Budget Responsibility in the U.K. says it has been "positively surprised" by its access demands.

Page said the international community is watching the Canadian experience with interest and he has been invited to help both the Slovak Republic and South Africa develop their budget offices as a result.

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